This is from Alexander Pope’s poem An Essay in Criticism.
A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep or taste not the Pierian spring.
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
(In Greek mythology the Pierian spring was a fountain which was sacred to the Muses and imparted learning to anyone who drank from it.)
There are times when having just a little learning about what the Bible says can be a dangerous thing.
The Bible contains many genealogies. They can be very boring and when I read through the Bible I often skim over them without studying them in detail but they do shed light on one very controversial issue regarding the interpretation of the Bible.
The first eleven chapters of Genesis are a history of the whole world. They tell how the world was created and describe events that affected the whole world, such as the flood and the building of the tower of Babel. Chapter twelve begins an account of the life of one man, Abraham, and the rest of the Old Testament is about him and his descendants.
There is disagreement about how the first eleven chapters of Genesis should be interpreted. Some think they tell of literal historical events; some think they are not intended to be taken literally and that real history begins with God’s call to Abraham (or Abram, as he was then called). The Bible’s genealogies show which interpretation is correct.
The word “doublethink” was first used by George Orwell in his novel 1984. It means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
Orwell invented the word but the practice existed long before he was born. First Kings 18 describes the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal to determine who is the true God. Here is what Elijah said to the people.
And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.”
1 Kings 18:21
Some of the people practiced doublethink by worshipping both Baal and the LORD. God condemned this practice and demanded that they choose one side or the other.
Identity theft is a major problem and all of us must take precautions to protect ourselves from it. It is not a new problem; Christians have been victims of it in the past. In fact we have had more that one identity stolen from us.
You have probably heard the saying, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” The saying doesn’t come from the Bible but the thought is expresses is found in the Bible.
For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
Paul was speaking about the Jews and the result of their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah.
Everyone who is familiar with the Bible knows that God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Most don’t realize that before this Abraham had been commanded to sacrifice his other son, Ishmael.
On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, Jesus was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”
Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. By Einstein’s definition Simon’s response to Jesus was insane. Not only had he fished all night without results but he was a professional fisherman while Jesus was a carpenter. Logically he should have been the one telling Jesus how to fish.
While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him.
And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”
Jesus told him to go to the priest because the Mosaic law required that an offering be made by anyone who had been cleansed from leprosy.
All of us have asked God for something and not gotten it. When this happens we generally believe that God hasn’t answered our prayer. That isn’t necessarily the case. Jesus said:
Which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
I have spent a lot of time on internet forums debating atheists and trying to convince them that God exists and the Bible is true. I usually tried to show them that the existence of God is the only logical explanation for the existence of the universe and I pointed out scientific evidence that shows that the theory of evolution can’t be true. However I have come to believe that I was going about this in the wrong way. This conclusion is based on hearing two former atheists tell how they became Christians.
The Bible prophesies a restoration of the Roman Empire just before Christ’s return and many Bible teachers think that the European Union is the fulfillment of that prophecy.
When the EU was formed this belief might have seemed reasonable. The founding members were Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands,and West Germany and these countries are all in territory that was once part of the Roman Empire. But since membership has grown and it now includes nations that were never part of the empire, including Sweden, Finland, and Poland.
Mr. Smith owned several acres of land just outside of a city on the coast. He dreamed of living a life of luxury and seeing the world but had no hope of fulfilling those dreams because he was stuck in a job that paid him barely enough to live on.
How did you react when you saw the title “Dead men walking”? It is likely that many of you immediately thought of zombies. Zombies certainly are dead men walking and they are a popular subject in fiction but this has nothing to do with zombies.
TANSTAAFL – This stands for “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.” This phrase probably originated at a time when it was a common practice for saloons to offer free food to anyone who bought a drink. The food wasn’t really free because the price the saloons charged for the drinks was high enough to cover the cost.
This statement is true in many areas of life. Things that we are told are free really aren’t; we are paying for them in ways that aren’t apparent to us.
Many preachers teach what is called the prosperity gospel: God wants his children to be rich and if we serve him faithfully he will make us wealthy. But most of us know people who live godly lives and yet aren’t financially prosperous. How do we reconcile these two facts? Are the “godly” people really hypocrites who are simply covering up their sins by pretending to serve God? Or are the prosperity teachers wrong? The best way to answer these questions is to see what the Bible says on the subject.
Matthew 15:21-28 describes an encounter between Jesus and a Canaanite woman.
And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.”
How did life originate? Most people believe that it began with a process called abiogenesis, the development of living organisms from nonliving mater. According to this belief a very simple life form came into existence and over millions of year its descendants changed through the process of evolution to produce the large variety of life that exists today.
Not everyone believes in abiogenesis and evolution. Some people believe the Bible’s account of how life originated; it was created by God only a few thousand years ago.
Believers in abiogenesis and creation both agree that new varieties of life are constantly being produced by a process called natural selection. An examination of how this process works might show whether abiogenesis or creation is the most likely starting point for it.